FicCentral received a free copy of this book from Little, Brown and Company (via NetGalley).
Series: Finishing School #1
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers on February 5, 2013
Genre(s): Fantasy (YA), Science Fiction Suspense (YA)
Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is the bane of her mother's existence. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea--and god forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. She enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.
But little do Sophronia or her mother know that this is a school where ingenious young girls learn to finish, all right--but it's a different kind of finishing. Mademoiselle Geraldine's certainly trains young ladies in the finer arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also in the other kinds of finishing: the fine arts of death, diversion, deceit, espionage, and the modern weaponries. Sophronia and her friends are going to have a rousing first year at school.
Sophronia is not like any of his sisters. She’s curious and rambunctious and gets into everything. She’s definitely not the lady her mother wants her to be. Her mom is ready to pack her off to what she believes is a Finishing School. And she is correct, sorta.
Sophronia is on her way to the school when she meets Dimity, and her brother Pillover. Dimity explains what Mademoiselle Geraldine’s school really is, a school to train young girls how to be spies. When they are attacked on the road by bandits, Sophronia shows off her skills and also makes an enemy of a classmate, Monique, the girl that was sent to recruit her.
Once at the school, she discovers a whole new world. The school floats, she has a vampire and a werewolf instructor and she learns that how to properly flutter her eyelashes is considered an important skill. The classes are a mixture of how to act like a proper lady and how to kill someone. Lying is encouraged, and being a tattle-tale is not.
Her curiosity still gets in her in trouble as she sneaks out of her room to explore the flying school quite often. She specifically likes the boiler room where she makes a band of new friends. Trying to figure out the mysteries behind Monique and the bandits that keep attacking the school, while keeping on top of her lessons keeps her very busy.
So this book was okay. It was very imaginative and some of the names cracked me up. Sophronia is a cute character, she easily adapts to the school and her lessons. She’s smart and capable, it seems as though she would do very well at a spy school.
The side characters were interesting, though not mentioned much. Except for Dimity, she is featured quite a bit. I felt the book was a bit childish, a lot of things were just plain silly. More for middle grade than young adult.
It also drags a bit in the middle and becomes a bit repetitive. I started out really interested (despite the silliness) but got bored about halfway through and had to force myself to continue. It picks up right at the end.
Not a bad book, just maybe too young for me.